The Occupy the London Stock Exchange protest camp has been asked to leave by St Paul’s Cathedral officials after a decision was made to close the cathedral on safety grounds.

The protest camp was set up a week ago and relations with the cathedral staff have been good, with protesters keen to harness the friendly feelings of goodwill.

However, following meetings with health, safety and fire officers, the unprecedented decision to close the cathedral was made.

Access to the cathedral is seriously limited for worshippers and tourists, while the number of stoves, fires and types of fuel represents a clear fire hazard.

The dean of St Paul’s, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, has written to the protesters urging them leave the vicinity so that the cathedral can be opened as soon as possible.

The protesters are now faced with an important decision over whether or not to stay.

Decisions at the camp are made democratically by way of a mass meeting and it is understood that a vote will be held shortly.